New Orleans is a magical place known for many things: music, food, architecture, festivals, partying — and a smoking ban?
In a city that knows how to let loose (and then some), that last bit might not sound very likely. I suppose you'll just have to consider it the new New Orleans.
The city passed a smoke-free ordinance in January 2015, and it went into effect April 22, 2015, making it illegal to smoke in bars and the city's lone casino ... aka a lot of places in NOLA.
And time flies: Aug. 5 marked 100 days of New Orleans being smoke-free in these establishments. New data shows the effect it's had so far.
The city has seen a 96% drop in air pollution levels in less than four months.
The info comes from a study conducted by indoor air quality researchers from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Their team set up shop at 13 different bars and one casino in New Orleans — before and after the ban was implemented — and used high-tech air pollution monitors to determine the amounts of fine particle air pollution in each establishment.
100 days. 96% drop in air pollution.
“We've heard from so many people in our bars, restaurants and casino who say they feel better and can breathe easier now without the stress of knowing they are in an unhealthy environment," said councilwoman Latoya Cantrell, the ordinance's chief sponsor.
The study might seem small considering there are a bajillion bars in NOLA, but the results of it are nothing to scoff at. Especially when you see how it adds to a larger trend happening in the United States.
New Orleans is just one more city added to an ever-growing list of cities and states going smoke-free.
The American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation says that as of July 1, 2015, 30 states, along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, have laws in effect that require restaurants and bars to be 100% smoke-free. Did your city or state make the list?
It's no secret that secondhand smoke is bad for you: It contains more than 7,000 chemicals with at least 69 that cause cancer. Asking people to take it outside can only help.
And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that's exactly what's happening. It's only a matter of time before that map is all blue, don't you think?